Thursday, April 30, 2015

Which One of These Chips Will Reunite You With Your Lost Pet?

No matter how much your pet likes potato chips (or gambling), it's the microchip implant that will allow the Ottawa Humane Society, the City of Ottawa, or a veterinary clinic to identify your pet and return him to you safe and sound. It's permanent. It's reliable. It will return a lost pet. Dates for upcoming OHS microchip clinics can be found at:

Bruce Roney
Executive Director 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Take Your Pet to the Vet

Dog at vet
Regular checkups are important.
Of course, we love our pets. We know it is our responsibility to take care of them – to ensure they are provided with all of their daily needs – but I think many of us also want to go beyond the basics and give back to our pets for the joy and companionship they bring to our lives. Nowadays, you may bring your four-legged family member to animal daycares, pet spas, off-leash parks, training classes, and a variety of animal-friendly events. But let’s not forget the fundamentals: Do you take your pet to the vet?

Your pet should visit a veterinarian at least once a year, for his annual checkup and vaccinations and more frequently if he experiences sudden or ongoing problems in health or behaviour. Yet, Canada’s Pet Wellness Report, produced by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, indicates that only 77 per cent of dog owners and a mere 46 per cent of cat owners in Canada have taken their pet to the vet in the last 12 months. The report notes that only about 10 per cent of pet owners consider regular veterinary checkups to be one of the most important steps they can take to increase the length of their pets’ lives.

Veterinarians are experts and an excellent resource for providing the optimum life-long health and happiness of your pet. Your vet plays an integral role in ensuring your pet receives important exams and treatments, including the following:

Cat at vet
A vet will help your pet stay healthy. 
General Health
Regular checkups are the best way to help prevent health problems in your pet. Your vet will examine your pet and provide you with important information and tips on topics such as weight control and dental care.

Keeping your pet’s vaccinations up to date is another important way to prevent disease and health problems in your pet, especially as many of us these days enjoy taking our pets out to parks and into the community for events and activities where disease can linger and spread. Remember, rabies vaccinations are required by law.

The OHS receives and cares for more than 6,000 cats and 2,000 dogs each year. Having your pet spayed or neutered is the best way you can play a part in controlling the pet population and helping reduce the number of homeless pets in our community. And, sterilization benefits your pet’s long-term health!

Parasite Control
Your veterinarian is your go-to resource for prevention and treatment of fleas, ticks, and worms. Many of these parasites can live year-round in your home and can transmit dangerous diseases to your pet. This is another area in which your vet can help you to act preventatively so that you may never have to deal with these unpleasant parasites.

Say thank you on World Veterinary Day.
Always take the time to chat with your vet about any unusual or challenging behaviour from your pet. Your vet will be equipped with tips and advice regarding what is normal behaviour and what you can do to be proactive in ending any misbehaviours before they get worse.

April 25 is World Veterinary Day. If your pet is due for a checkup, why not make a call to your vet to book your next appointment and say thank you for all the work veterinarians do for our pets? Although it may not seem as exciting or glamorous as taking Fluffy to the spa, a trip to the veterinarian is one of the best things you can do for the long-term health and happiness of your pet. 

Andrea Tatarski,
Coordinator: Humane Education

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ethical Decisions

OHS work is complex, from animal care ... 
When I started at the Ottawa Humane Society 15 years ago, I fell into the trap that almost everyone does, whether new staff, board member, or volunteer. It was, "How complicated could this be?  It's taking care of dogs and cats." Yikes! Was I wrong. The answer is, VERY complicated.

The huge range of activities is one of the complicating factors. It is as if, on a much smaller scale, you put together a hospital, a police force, a children's aid society, an ambulance service, a hotel, a store, a summer camp, a school, a social service agency... you get the idea.

Our work is actually very complex and until recently, there was almost no actual reliable research on how to proceed with most of the issues we face. And of course, you add the emotion that people bring to the table regarding animals, and what we get is a lot of complexity with a good dose of controversy thrown in. humane education.,.
So how, if you are me, do you make a good decision in this environment? Well, first I think that you have to be open to the idea  that you might get it wrong now and again. Second, I think you always have to remember who we are serving—the animals—and where the needs of the person conflict with the needs of the animals, we have to be on the animal's side. Third, and this is key, I think you have to rely on a good moral compass. Maybe you can't always be right, but you can always be ethical.

I always felt the opening of the U.S. Marines honour code was a good place to start with ethics " never lie, cheat, or steal." How hard is that? Apparently very hard for some, but it shouldn't be. Rescue and Investigation Services.
When facing a difficult decision, I often think, "Could I defend this decision on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen?" If the answer is no, then it is a bad decision. This has been very helpful for me over the years. A while back, a small controversy arose about our policy of not allowing foster volunteers to adopt their charges except in certain exceptional circumstances. I took a bit of heat about this. But here is what I considered: Can I defend the reasons for the policy? Yes. Can I defend allowing OHS insiders to move to the front of the line? No. The decision may not be perfect. But it is ethical. And making ethical decisions is one the things that will sustain the OHS, so we can be here for the animals for years to come. 

Bruce Roney
OHS Executive Director

Friday, April 10, 2015

We're Celebrating Our Ottawa Humane Society Volunteers by Saying Thank You!

Volunteers enrich the quality of life for the animals
Every year, organizations across Canada mark National Volunteer Week to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million-plus volunteers.

This year, National Volunteer Week takes place April 12-18, and the volunteer department is busy planning workshops, activities, a luncheon, and more, to celebrate our volunteers. As part of my event plan, I am challenging my colleagues to consider how our volunteers directly impact their work and help them complete their goals and objectives. When I sat back and pondered this question myself, it wasn’t so much what do volunteers do for the OHS, it was what don’t they do?

Volunteers touch almost everything we accomplish at the OHS. You might be surprised to know that the OHS is supported by over 800 volunteers, and the number is growing every month. With over 800 volunteers, it’s not hard to see that volunteers are the lifeblood of the OHS. Their gift of time, dedication and enthusiasm allows us to continue to provide care for more than 10,000 animals each year, and accomplish so much for our community.

Volunteer vet team from Merivale Cat Hospital 
Our volunteers give their time to more than 26 programs and in 2014, gave almost 60,000 hours of their time to help the animals in our care. Volunteers visit 78 institutions in our community and bring joy and happiness through our brightening lives program; they support our retail boutique; they pick-up and drop-off coin boxes for donations throughout the city; they call our donors to thank them for their support; they help enrich the qualities of lives for dogs, cats and small animals residing at the shelter; they help with the planning and delivery of events; they bring animals into their home and provide care for the animal until they are ready to be adopted; they groom our animals; they drop off adopted animals to their new forever families on Christmas mornings; they process donations; they help with administrative tasks; they educate the public in French and English about  animal care and welfare;  they save the lives of vulnerable kittens; they help at-risk youth to change their lives through training shelter dogs; they take photos to help animals find their new families; they help provide lifesaving medical treatments; they help govern the OHS, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Volunteers are the driving force behind giving so many animals a second chance, and for making our community a more humane place for all. Without their support, there would be no Ottawa Humane Society.

Please join me and everyone at the OHS in thanking the over 800 men and women that make the work of the OHS possible this National Volunteer Appreciation Week!

Ashley Britton
Manager: Volunteers 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

C' est fantastique - merci!

If you haven't yet heard, I have great news to share: the Ottawa Humane Society is now offering our humane education programs in English and in French. This may seem like a small milestone to you, but to me it's a momentous event and the fulfilment of a promise. I couldn't be more pleased.

The promise I am referring to is one I made to a number people who contacted me early in my tenure about the lack of OHS services and materials in French. At the time, the OHS was living hand to mouth, and addressing their concerns would have meant diverting very scarce resources away from animal rescue, care and welfare. There was simply no reasonable or acceptable way to achieve what I knew the OHS should at that time. But I promised to move forward on their concerns as soon as it was possible.

Now, because of your generosity, the OHS can now help build compassion in thousands of local school children who speak or study in French.

Of course, there is more work to do. French humane education is not the end of our journey to serve our entire community. While it is not realistic to offer everything we do and everything we produce  in both official languages — an endeavour that would cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars annually — we have translated many of our key materials and that work is continuing. We have hired and continue to hire more bilingual staff members. Certain public-facing positions require bilingualism now. And overall I think we are more open, more welcoming and more accessible to our French-speaking community.

Thank you for helping us do it. Or rather, merci de nous aider à le faire.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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